Monday, December 11, 2017

Photographic Memory

Earlier this year the Webster Groves Public Library invited me to have a solo photography show in their art gallery during the month of December. I have participated in a half dozen shows over the past couple of years, but have never done one on my own. The thing is, with a solo show your work has to carry the load of the entire exhibit. Your piece is not one of many, but rather many pieces of you. But I felt like my work from Australia and New Zealand could stand on its own, so I agreed to exhibit.

As I had come home from my trip with slightly over 3,500 photos, it was rather daunting to narrow it down to the best. Normal shows at the library contain 20-25 pieces, but I chose to show the 34 pictures that I felt best represented the two countries I had visited. Next I had to determine what size to make the prints. They needed to be large enough to show the details, but not so large that it would limit how many photos I could hang. Originally I wanted all of them to be the same size, mounted only behind an 11"x14" glass frame with no mat or wood to detract from the pictures. However, nine of the photos would not fit in that format without cutting off pertinent items such as a kangaroo's tail, for example. So in the end, I had those nine printed 10"x20" and mounted on gatorboard. It wasn't exactly what I had envisioned, but it worked. After I received all the prints back from the lab, I applied wire to the back of each per the library's hanging system requirement.

Jim was a godsend in helping me with my final photo selections, and providing input on the best way to display the pictures. He spent several hours with me on December 2nd hanging the show, and came up with an inventive method to level the photos when the hanging system at the library kept tilting all the images downward. I went back to the library on the 3rd to clean off any fingerprints and apply the photo labels to the wall. The show was ready to go!

Wednesday I got my hair cut, and my long time stylist, Charles, offered to have me come back on Friday so that he could style my hair for the reception at no charge. I took him up on his offer, and he would not even accept a tip from me.

The opening reception was held Friday night from 6-8. Jim and I got to the library at 5:30 to set up the tables. A surprise was awaiting, as the librarians said flowers had been delivered for me. Jim had handed me fresh flowers when he got home from work, so I knew they hadn't come from him. As it turned out, our Minnesota friends Kathy and Paul, who had joined us in New Zealand, sent a floral arrangement for the opening. How nice is that?

On one of the tables we put the wine, water, 7-Up, lemonade, ice and glasses. A second was for the cheese and sausage tray, along with a vegetable tray, crackers, grapes and a candy dish. The third was reserved for the amazing chocolate chip and cranberry white chip cookies that I had ordered from a friend. They were a huge hit, as I knew they would be!
reception tables
Through the course of the evening around 35 people came through the exhibit, including stylist Charles and three of his friends. A few were folks that I didn't know but who had read about it on the library's Facebook page or in the calendar section of the Webster-Kirkwood Times. Several neighbors, many friends and a few of my Women in Focus photography group stopped by. I was touched by how many of my pickleball ladies came as well. I was not able to take many pictures, so thanks go out to my friend Caren Libby for those below.
reception photos
Everyone complimented me on the quality of the photos as well as the way I had chosen to display them. And I even sold one that night! In the end, I'm glad I faced my insecurities and put my work out there. Sometimes you just have to get out of your own head.

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